- The first song that I listened to on RE:invent was “The Lion”. I had met Russ Wallace, known to his fans as ThKid, for the first time briefly while visiting The Living Church then officially at his job before I ever become a fan or knew who he was. A friend from the church told me that he was a rapper, and I became interested. I looked on the internet and found some of his music that I could listen too. I fell in love with some songs and was skeptical of others. Overall, I became a fast fan and was excited to hear more.
A few months after first seeing him, I bumped into him and the friend, who had told me about his music, around their work, and I confessed that they were some of my favorite people. Thoroughly amused and overjoyed at my remark, ThKid offered to send me a free track that no one had ever listened to before. Ecstatic, I accepted immediately and impatiently waited for the email containing his gift. Once hearing it, the struggles that I had been enduring were seemingly lifted and my faith in God and His love for me was renewed. The song that ThKid sent me turned out to be “The Lion”. It secured my fan status indefinitely and gained its' creator my thanks and respect even more than before. At this point, RE:invent was not a reality, and I could have never dreamed that I would be asked to review it. I am thoroughly honored to be asked to do so by ThKid. That being said, I will try to remain as objective as possible.
From the beginning to the end, RE:invent is a rapper's dream. It has killer bass and heavenly hooks that keep the listeners thoroughly engaged and begging for more. The album starts off with a powerful introduction to ThKid as a rapper and a person with “Never Scared-Mercy”. Two words to describe this musical wonder are empowering and grace. On this track I could hear two different songs seamlessly blended into one. At the beginning, it seems like the listener could go and fight giants like David did only to be reminded of humanity's need for God's mercy by the end. The beauty of this song and the album is the sincerity and bluntness with which ThKid honors God through his words.
Proving that he has no qualms about what he believes in or who the album is about, he spits out near the end of Mercy: “I don't want to come across as cocky. Just that I know God got me.” With these words, he reveals the heart of his creation for the world to see and judge as they wish. Despite the clarity of his Christian message in the first track and the album as a whole, ThKid wishes to reach everyone not just believers with his music.
Over all, RE:invent is stark and real to its' core, filled with a song for everyone whether they are religious or not. While there are songs such as “All of the Above Ft. Taylor Gulledge”, “IDK”, and “The Lion” which satisfy the typical upbeat and peppy crowd-pleasers, several of the songs have a darker edge that cause their listeners to think introspectively about how they have handled life and its' struggles. Some examples of tracks which might put off people who enjoy the more upbeat, contemporary Christian music are “7PM”, “Ghosts”, “Nothing Can Stop Me Ft. Deion Reverie”, “Reflections”, and “Felt So High”. These songs are the more personal and emotionally charged of the album, but they are also the most visceral. Fans of Skillet, Lecrae, Flyleaf, and Evanescence would be more likely to appreciate these songs and their potent messages. If a listener wishes to see ThKid's heart and who he is, then they should fall in love with these tracks as much as I have.
In fact, “7PM” is ThKid's favorite song on the album. His love for this track is not only because he was born at 7pm exactly, but also because it highlights the struggles he and other believers face each day against Satan and his minions. It is a dark and beautiful song.
Other tracks that walk the midway point of dark and happy are “Never Scared-Mercy”, “Expression of the Brave Ft. IAM Justified and B Cooper”, “Candelights”, “Fire and Snow Ft. Taylor Gulledge”, and “Never Alone Ft. Deion Reverie”. They are in-between upbeat and stark, which everyone will love. These are the most inspirational and chill pieces of the album. Anyone who just loves to listen to good music in the office or needs a reminder that someone cares about them will enjoy these songs.
“Candelights” is one of my favorites out of this group because it targets those who want to make a significant difference in the world around them. One could argue that this song is the closest ThKid comes to speaking about Jesus Christ's Great Commission. In the words, ThKid expresses his longing to be the one whom God uses to light the world with His love. He sings: “Make me a candle! 'Cause I just want to light up the night! I want to light the world. I want to shine in the dark.” Again, he bares his soul to those listening just in a more positive light.
Coming to the end of the album, ThKid ends it on a thankful note with “Reinvent Me Ft. Taylor Gulledge”. He began the album with an introduction of himself to the world as a man who was completely changed by the love of God, with a passionate desire to share his Creator's love with the world and inspire people to persevere through life's challenges. He ends it on a similar note. He admits that he is still not perfect and that he has his doubts adding a dark note to this as well. His message does not stop there though. He sums up his overwhelming need for others as he thanks his Savior, his Dad specifically along with his family, his late Grandmother, his church family from The Living Church or “TLC”, and “anyone who took a chance on” him. In short, ThKid ends the album with an implied promise to keep letting God reinvent him. It is the most bittersweet song of them all and the perfect finish.
So, what are you waiting for? This album and its' artist are both wonderful pieces of art and definitely worth adding to your music library. No. Sorry. You cannot add ThKid himself to your library which would be illegal and weird, but listening to these songs give the fan a clear picture of who Russ Wallace and ThKid are as both man and artist. The best thing about this album is that it is not just for those who believe in Jesus. As one may have noticed, like Skillet, most of the songs on this album do not sound like your generic Christian music. ThK.id's heart is to reach the world which is everyone. As he said in “All of the Above Ft. Taylor Gulledge”, “My jobs not to judge but to show the right way.” ThKid is everyone's rapper and he wants to simply show Christ's love without judgment or bible-thumping which unfortunately has become a given when it comes to anything attached to Christianity. The message of the album and artist is love. I am a major fan of both. This is not the beginning and end for the ThKid. Look for great things from this Kid. I expect him to match or surpass Lecrae as his career continues. He is definitely one to watch.
Now that I have piqued your interest in this amazing artist. You can find his album, RE:invent, on itunes, spotify, cdbaby, his facebook page “ThKid”and other places as well. Also, keep on the lookout for ThKid's next project, "Sunrise/Sunfall”. Now it is up to you! Go check this Kid out!
- Donna Lewis